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Designing a Home Bar is Difficult, but Lighting it Doesn't Have to Be!

Designing a Home Bar is Difficult, but Lighting it Doesn't Have to Be!

  2013-01-16         sparksdirect         Advice » Lighting Design Advice

In this economy, setting up a home bar might sound like an impossible extravagance, but if you're the entertaining type, it might just be worth the investment.

It's more comfortable at home, for a start, and on a Friday night, it would be like having a night out only with your friends in a cosy setting.

Decoist has a wonderful (as usual) post for inspiration, so take a look over there and if it's something you think you might want, come back here for tips on how to recreate that cosy bar atmosphere - and maybe even improve on it.

The Basic Principles 

We've covered the basics of lighting a bar for commercial purposes before and the same basic principles apply to the home version.

Let's talk about them briefly. Pendants and chandeliers will provide just enough ambient lighting to see by, but little enough for that all-important atmosphere.

As to the question of how low (or high) to hang those lights: aim for eye level to reduce glare.

Unlike a commercial bar, you have the research opportunity: measure your tallest and shortest friends and hang the pendant so the light sits in the midpoint.

And if you'll be displaying your selection behind the bar, accent lighting can illuminate the bottles to make them look more attractive.

Strips of warm white LED lights hanging underneath the shelves are basically invisible and more importantly: very lovely.

The Personal Details

Now you've got a handle on the basic principles of lighting a bar to make it look great, but you have a little more freedom in your own home, so we can go a little bit wild.

If you're playing some games like poker or blackjack or Snakes and Ladders, spotlights mounted on the walls around the space will provide the illumination needed to properly and fairly compete.

In fact, wall lights in general offer something different from commercial pubs in terms of general lighting.

The principle behind their mounting height is the opposite of the ceiling lamps: mount a wall lamp above eye level to cut down on uncomfortable glare.

Plinth lighting set within the bar is always a nice touch, and we especially condone the use of coloured lights to make your home bar a little bit different from most.

There are many other innovative ways to light a bar, and these are just a few of them.

If you have ideas, sound off in the comments! But the two most important questions to ask yourself before starting this new project are: "What style am I going for?" and "With what shall I stock it?"